2018 (January to November) Germany: Best-Selling Electric Car Brands and Models

November 2018: The top-selling electric car brands in Germany were Renault ahead of Volkswagen and Smart with the Zoe, VW Golf, Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 the favorite electric car models.

January to November 2018: Smart remained Germany’s best-selling electric car brand followed by Volkswagen, Renault, BMW and Kia. The favorite car models of the Germans thus far in 2018 were the Renault Zoe, VW Golf, Smart Fortwo, BMW i3 and Kia Soul. During the first eleven months of 2018, only 1.01% of new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany were electric cars but electric cars took a record 1.6% market share in November 2018.

Electric Car Market in Germany in 2018 (Jan to November)

New electric passenger car vehicle registrations in Germany in November 2018 increased by 41% to 4,262 cars and a 1.56% market share compared to 3,031 cars and a market share of 1% in November 2017.

Electric cars sold in records numbers in Germany in November 2018 with an all time high market share. This followed on an equally uncharacteristically large 1.2% of the German new car market in September 2018 and 1,34% in October 2018. The reason was largely due to a 20% decline in the total German new car market in September, followed by a 7% contraction in October and a further 10% decline in November due to the introduction of new emission control regulations that left many manufacturers temporarily unable to register new cars. In September, registrations of Audis were down by three quarters and VWs more than 60% – see 2018 Q3) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models for more details.

More clarity on the future of diesel cars, and especially older diesel cars, in Germany may help the market during the final month of 2018 but a recovery and return to normality is unlikely before 2019. Huge premiums are offered by manufacturers for exchanging older diesels for new cars but it remains unclear how many of owners would opt for electric cars. Renault for example already announced a €5,000 exchange premium for the Zoe.

During the first eleven months of 2018, only 32,226 new electric passenger vehicles were registered in Germany for the first time, or a market share of only 1,01% of the total German new car market compared to 21,644 and a market share of 0.7% during the first eleven months of 2017.

Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2018 (Jan to November)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA identified the following as the top-selling electric car brands in Germany in November 2018 and the first eleven months of 2018:

1-11/2018BrandNov 20181-11/2018
All Electric Cars4,26232,226
Share of Total Car Market1.56%1.01%
Source: KBA

Top-Selling Electric Carmakers in Germany in 2018 (November)

November 2018: Renault was the top-selling car brand in Germany in November 2018 for the first time since May. Renault was helped by strong demand for the Zoe. Volkswagen slipped back to second and Smart to third. Nissan gained fourth place at the expense of BMW. Audi shot back into the top 10 with 220 cars of an unspecified model – around half the total number of electric cars registered in Germany thus far in 2018.

January to November 2018: Smart remained the top-selling electric car brand in Germany thus far in 2018 despite being clearly outsold by Volkswagen and Renault in recent months. BMW moved ahead of Kia and Nissan outsold Tesla. Audi similarly overtook Opel.

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2018 (January to November)

According to the KBA the following where the top-selling electric car models in Germany in November 2018 and the first eleven months of 2018:

Nov 18BrandModelNovember 20181-11/2018
Total Electric Market4,26232,226
11TeslaModel S811,185
12TeslaModel X40610
21Source: KBAx

November 2018: The Renault Zoe regained the top slot as best-selling electric car model in Germany from the VW Golf. The Zoe was helped by incentives of up to €5000 to replace older diesel cars with an electric Renault. The Zoe is the first electric car model to sell more than a thousand cars in a single month in Germany.

The VW Golf also had very strong electric car sales in November 2018. Volkswagen reportedly increased electric Golf production by third. However, the Golf will be replaced during 2019 with the e-Golf being succeeded by a new electric only ID Neo model rather than an electric version of the standard Golf.

The Nissan Leaf narrowly outsold the BMW i3 in November 2018 to gain third place at the expense of the Smart Fortwo that slipped to fourth place. The Hyundai Ioniq similarly swapped places with the Smart Forfour.

The Audi e-tron was probably the seventh most-registered electric car model in Germany in November 2018 but the model is not yet specified separately in KBA statistics. 

1-11/2018: During the first eleven months of 2018, the Renault Zoe remained the top-selling electric car model in Germany. Following the strong sales in November, the Zoe increased the lead over the e-Golf from only seven cars at the end of October to more than 200. The Smart Fortwo is still in third place with the BMW i3 moving ahead of the Kia Soul. The BMW i3 sales remain remarkably stable and may be more due to sales being production rather than demand led.

Conventional wisdom holds that carmakers are still selling electric cars at a loss and thus not keen on increasing sales at current market prices. The German motor press reported very long waiting times for electric car models. It will be interesting to see if this continues when far more expansive models actually make it to market rather than the auto shows. Audi started to take reservations (€2,000 – no refunds) for the e-tron with prices starting at €80,000 (but good luck getting one without more expensive options) and no firm delivery date (or final price).

Electric Car Sales in Germany

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.